Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have We Trials and Temptations?

As I meditated on the words of this verse of What a Friend we Have in Jesus, I thought that the writer used a compelling technique when he asked questions instead of making statements. And the more I thought about it, I thought he surely must be asking rhetorical questions! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? Um, YES. In fact, Jesus Himself tells us it will be so!

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33

And James tells us that these trials are for our good because through them we grow and are made perfect and complete.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Peter tells us that these trials show the proof of our faith, through which we are saved.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. I Peter 5:6-9

We would do well to heed the advice of this hymn: don't be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer! God knows what is on our hearts and minds, but He wants to hear from His children. When we face trouble, trials or temptation, He wants us to call on Him, and His word tells us He will rescue us and deliver us.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. I Corinthians 10:13

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation.
II Peter 2:9

Truly there is no other friend as faithful as Jesus. He shares with us in our sorrow, for He Himself has experienced it. Because He has felt what we feel, we can go confidently to His throne, bringing our pain and suffering, trials and troubles to Him.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus knows all our weakness, so bring it to Him in prayer! Sometimes when we are going through trials, temptations and troubles, it is difficult to even think about how to pray, or what to pray. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, who helps my weakness and intercedes on my behalf! And I am even more thankful that He prays for me according to the will of God.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

When we face trials, temptations and toruble, our fleshly reaction is oftentimes to worry. I take great consolation in Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount when He assures us that He will take care of us.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:33-34

When we are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, we are focused on Him instead of on ourselves. This brings great confidence and comfort as we live this life on earth that is full of troubling distractions.

Finally, I hope you will be as encouraged as I am by what God promises us await us as believers when we persevere through trials: the crown of life and a future in glory that is incomparable to this present time!

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

Have we trials and temptations? YES. Do we have a faithful friend who will comfort, deliver and save us? YES. Bring your sorrow over these troubles to our Lord today - come boldly before His throne of grace and find mercy and grace for your time of need. What a friend!

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Words by Joseph Scriven

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

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